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Spain picks sides as tensions rise in North Africa, by Ignacio Cembrero (Le Monde diplomatique


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Allow us to in: Moroccan staff demand visa-free entry to Spanish enclave of Ceuta, Might 2022

Fadel Senna · AFP · Getty

On 8 June Algeria suspended its 2002 friendship, good neighbourliness and cooperation treaty with Spain. The identical day, Algeria’s Affiliation of Banks and Monetary Establishments (ABEF) ordered its members to freeze all operations regarding commerce with Spain. This was a critical step: Spain is Algeria’s fifth-largest provider, with exports price €2.7bn in 2019, and Algeria’s third-largest buyer for pure gasoline, to a worth of €2.3bn; to date, the sanctions haven’t affected gasoline deliveries.

Why is Algeria making an attempt to punish Spain? The rift is over Western Sahara, a Spanish colony till 1976 and now claimed by Morocco, which occupies a big a part of the territory. Algeria, in the meantime, defends the native Sahrawi individuals’s proper to self-determination, as prescribed by the United Nations, and helps the separatist Polisario Entrance motion. Morocco opposes their independence, proposing restricted autonomy underneath Moroccan sovereignty as a substitute.

Till not too long ago Spain, because the formal colonial energy, tried to strike a steadiness, saying it could respect UN choices but additionally quietly backing Morocco’s rapprochement with the European Union, although this was not sufficient to fulfill Rabat. So Spain’s sudden coverage U-turn on 18 March, when it declared its help for Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara, stunned and angered Algeria.

To know what’s at stake, we should return to the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency. On 10 December 2020 the US recognised Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara — a step no different Western nation had taken — and in return Morocco agreed to normalise relations with Israel.

Morocco felt emboldened and in January 2021 its international minister Nasser Bourita urged EU international locations to ‘get out of this consolation zone’ and observe the US instance; till then, solely France had supported Morocco’s plan for resolving the battle in Western Sahara, with out recognising its sovereignty over the territory.

Morocco angles for Spanish (…)

Full article: 1 795 phrases.

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